Reaching out to Africa

The Hindu Editorial 11th Jan 2017

Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta could be a willing partner for India to deepen relation.

Kenyan president has participated in the vibrant Gujarat Global Summit as a special guest.

Vibrant Gujarat is the name given to a biennial investors’ summit held by the government of Gujarat in Gujarat, India. The event is aimed at bringing together business leaders, investors, corporations, thought leaders, policy and opinion makers; the summit is advertised as a platform to understand and explore business opportunities in the State of Gujarat. The global Summit of Vibrant Gujarat will now enter its 8th edition in 2017. Vibrant Gujarat 2017 is scheduled to be held from 10-13 January 2017.

Why Kenya is Important for us?

  1. Kenya is one of the leading countries in the continent which will help in strengthening our relations with other African Countries.
  2. Kenya is always keen to get investment from India which will pave the ways to countries to establish their business in diverse sectors such as energy, pharmaceuticals, textiles, agriculture and financial services.
  3. Some major companies like Tata, Reliance, Essar and Kirloskars are flourishing their business in Kenya.
  4. Kenya is member of Fast African Community (EAC) comprising Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and and South Sudan which has emerged as a successful African Regional Economic Community. EAC can be a good trading and investment partners for India in future.

The East African Community (EAC) is an intergovernmental organisation composed of six countries in the African Great Lakes region in eastern Africa: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. John Magufuli, the president of Tanzania, is the EAC’s chairman. The organisation was founded in 1967, collapsed in 1977, and revived on 7 July 2000. In 2008, after negotiations with the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the EAC agreed to an expanded free trade area including the member states of all three organizations. The EAC is an integral part of the African Economic Community.

What are the main Challenges to India with respect to our relation with Kenya and Africa as a whole?

  1. Kenya has its “Look East Policy” where China seems to be a great partner but at the same time Kenya needs other partners too.
  2. Japan has enabled to develop good relation with Kenya Mainly after August 2016, when Japan decided to held the “Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development” in Nairobi, Capital of Kenya.
  3. India wants to strengthen her relation with EAS but the regional main power Kenya and Tanzania are facing rivalry from long time which is not welcomed for India.

What India need to do?

  1. At this point of time USA new president has not mentioned more about his program with respect to Africa. European Union is facing challenge of Brexin, Euro crisis and political turmoil in many countries. China’s economy is also getting down and manufacturing sector is not doing well, so India should take advantage of this moment to strengthen its position in Africa.
  2. India had already get success when India-Africa Summit of 2015 took place in Delhi and was attended by the presidents and vice-presidents of African countries. Such initiatives are highly required to be taken in future as well.

The India–Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) is the official platform for the African-Indian relations. IAFS will be held once in every three years. It was first held from April 4 to April 8, 2008 in New Delhi, India. It was the first such meeting between the heads of state and government of India and 14 countries of Africa chosen by the African Union. The third summit in a rotation basis is held in New Delhi, India from 26-30 October 2015. The 5 day summit started with consultations on official level followed by the Head of States/governments level summit on 29 October 2015 with scheduled bilateral meetings on 30 October 2015. This was Modi government’s biggest diplomatic outreach involving delegates from a large number of African nations.